The Effect of the UK Lorry Driver Shortage

There is a chronic shortage of Lorry and HGV drivers in the United Kingdom. According to estimates, there is a shortage of around 100,000 drivers in the United Kingdom. Before the outbreak of Coronavirus, there were roughly 600,000 drivers in the UK, including thousands of HGV drivers from EU member states.

Part of the reason for the present prevailing employee shortages is the post-Brexit changes in migration laws. These post-Brexit changes have resulted in many EU workers returning home. Since the United Kingdom is no longer a member of the European Union or the single market, it has become easier for European drivers to find work in the EU and their nations.

In addition, if you consider the ongoing Coronavirus epidemic, the limits that have been imposed because of it, self-isolation requirements, and the furlough programme, which keeps certain people off the job, you have more reasons that further worsen the shortage.

Because new HGV drivers cannot complete training and testing during lockdowns, the pandemic has decreased the number of new HGV drivers. During the pandemic, up to 30,000 HGV driving test places were lost, making it extremely difficult for new drivers to get up and running.

Other Reasons

In addition to the aforementioned reasons, numerous other reasons account for the prevailing lorry shortages. These include:-

  • The poor paying conditions convince drivers to look for other jobs with better monetary compensation.
  • Drivers going into retirement and a lack of new drivers entering the market, mainly due to the unfavourable and unpromising nature of the market.
  • The implementation of the IR35 reforms has forced numerous EU drivers to leave the UK, creating a further shortage.

However, this is not just limited to the United Kingdom; other European countries, such as France and Germany, are experiencing similar shortages. From its looks, we can conclude that Britain has been hit the worst.

Many significant enterprises in the United Kingdom have complained about a lack of HGV drivers. This lack of drivers has resulted in a shortage of commodities and even some products.

David Moore of Western Industrial Business Interiors said something along the lines of noticing a significant surge in organisations searching for solutions to improve their storage capacity on their premises over the last several months. Logistic managers attempt to match customer expectations by ensuring that every lorry load is loaded with merchandise to its maximum capacity.

How to tackle the problem

A solution that has been proposed is to increase and promote the idea of short team storage until the glaring problem of a shortage of lorry drivers is resolved.

Morrisons has recently warned of a possible industry-wide price increment to deal with the scarcity of HGV drivers.

According to the company, they are expecting some industry-wide retail pricing inflation in the second half, driven by continued recent commodity price rises and freight inflation and the current HGV driver scarcity. To tackle this, they plan to reduce these and other possible cost increments, such as those required to maintain strong on-shelf availability.

Morrisons isn’t alone, though. Other major corporations, such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Wetherspoons, and Nando’s, are experiencing supply shortages. Due to a lack of signature peri-peri chicken, Nando’s had to close 50 of its outlets a few weeks ago temporarily.

Coca-Cola has stated that Diet Coke is unavailable in several UK stores owing to a driver shortage.

These persistent logistical issues have resulted in many empty shelves in shops around the country, raising concerns about Christmas, usually the peak demand season.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), merchants do everything necessary to avoid any supply disruptions before Christmas.

The United Kingdom’s government has announced that they will address persistent truck driver shortages by recruiting new drivers, lowering driver certification requirements, and improving working conditions.

An open letter was issued to the sector. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps vowed it, Cooperate and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey and Environment Secretary George Eustice to work with industry leaders to recruit drivers, simplify training, and encourage individuals to stay in business.


However, with Christmas goods being carried across the country, any actions to alleviate the problem may be too little or too late. The relevant authorities need to acknowledge the factors mentioned above as the root causes of the shortages of lorry drivers. Once the problems have been identified, they can minimise the damages caused and bring the situation back to normal. However, this will be a long and tedious process, and no promises of immediate delivery should be made.